When you think about it, there’s some truth to the saying, ‘travel is love’. After all, love and travel do go hand in hand.
Travel means falling in love with new places, new languages, new foods and new surroundings. Our senses are heightened and our hearts are opened, we let ourselves feel things that we normally try to protect ourselves from at home. We let ourselves fall in love. And when the stars align on crossed paths, we travel and fall in love with another person.
Marriage therapist Jane Greer says:
You widen your margins before you leave for a trip, knowing you are going to do things you don’t normally do. You give yourself the permission to experience different and possibly risky pleasures before even leaving, and romance is the biggest – and most dangerous – pleasure you can get…
At home we are scared of getting hurt, but when we travel we open ourselves to vulnerability and allow ourselves to live more in the moment. We let go of our responsibilities at home and fall recklessly in love, even for only a short few days – maybe because we only have a short few days.
But is love found on the road true love? Is it sincere and will it last the test of time? Or will it be swept away like the footprints in the sand only to be replaced over and over again?
I spoke to some travellers I have met on the road and asked them about their experiences with love:
“I met a guy right at the end of a year-long trip, before then I had been this strong independent women that didn’t need a man, when I meet him I knew I was heading home, I knew these were my last few weeks and I guess he must have come along at the perfect time. I fell head-over-heels for him within days. I cancelled plans to go home and stayed longer with him. I had never laughed so hard and had such a connection. This guy was something special. But commitments called and I had to leave. I wept like a child. I felt like life was not on my side, why did I have to meet the guy of my dreams just as I was going home.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realised that’s exactly why he was ‘the guy of my dreams’ because realistically I knew I was leaving, I let myself completely let go of any barriers I had up and I let myself fall in love. We are still in touch now and I have no doubt one day again we will cross paths, but if we don’t I will always remember him as the guy that reminded me to live every day like it was my last.” – Kate, 32, USA
So love can show up at any time in your travels? But what if you have had a messy breakup at home and travel to heal? How does love and travel come into play then? Matteo’s story won’t fail to put a smile on your face:
“I had gone through a messy divorce and went to South America to escape it. The last thing I wanted was another woman in my life. I travelled through Chile and Bolivia and I fell in love with the culture, I met the most amazing people, and was taken aback by their kindness. It made me re-evaluate my relationships and thoughts on love.
I had a fling with a fun-loving Spanish girl that couldn’t speak a lick of English. We bonded over our love of music and pisco sours and although I never fell in love with her she taught me it was ok to open up again. When I got home I decided to put what had happened in my marriage in the past and formed a great friendship with my wife, which later turned back into a marriage. If I had never have gone travelling I never would have won my wife back, my attitude needed to change and travelling did that for me.” – Matteo 37 UK
How refreshing to hear that travel can teach you so much and prove to you what is really important to you.
Wait until you read Eric’s story that just proves sometimes it is all about timing:
“I met the mother of my children in Japan in 2001 while on an exchange there. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. Seems she didn’t feel the same. We hung out all summer and I never really told her my true feelings and left without saying goodbye or exchanging contact details.
10 years later I was heading to Europe and had a stop over in Paris. In some fairytale moment of fate we walked right past each other. I stopped her and really the rest is history. After 2 days with her I wasn’t going to let her walk away from me again. This year she gave birth to our 2nd child. For me love at home and while travelling are the same feelings. Once you know you just know.” – Eric, Australia.
Possibly the most heartwarming story ever?? The beauty of love, like travel, is that you never know where you’re going, never know what to expect. Every route is filled with the possibility that there will be ultimate happiness waiting for you at your destination.
But love can happen at all ages, and love doesn’t have to be exclusively for a person; it can also be for yourself as Jenny proves:
“2014 was going to be MY year, I had a backpacking trip planned around Asia and the right bank balance to go with it. A month before I was about to jet off I met a guy. Things escalated quickly and without thinking I said ‘well why don’t you come with me’ and he did.
We had an amazing first few months, learning about each other along with the new countries, but once the honeymoon period came to an end I was left feeling frustrated that I let my school girl emotions take over my planned solo journey. Luckily he felt the same and we went our separate ways. But I felt defeated and a little heartbroken that things didn’t work out. The only thing I could do then was carry on travelling. I learnt to love my own company and enjoyed learning about myself so much. By falling out of love with a person, I fell in love with my journey and who I was on it. Travel and love became the same thing.” – Jenny 23, Holland
It seems love, in whatever form it is found or lost, can only heighten our experiences.
Love doesn’t have to be a feeling that you give to another person. It can be one you hold for yourself, or your surroundings. Love can just be to travel, and what you gain along the way.
Those wise words seem all too true – “to have loved and lost is better than to never have loved at all”, so whether it be a holiday romance, an obsession with a new food, amazement at a country’s views or a partnership that will last forever, let travel take your heart. <3